Continuation of our series on festive products from the region. Today the fresinat, a traditional dish from the south of the Tarn which was served in winter, on the evening of the pig killer, to thank friends and neighbors who came to lend a hand. Each return from service in one farm or another in the country meant sharing a new fresinat, as the first pieces cut from the freshly slaughtered pig were called. Explanations with Thierry Bardou, the chef of Vin Coeur in Albi.
At 5 years old, Thierry Bardou was a long way from the 93 meters he exhibits today under the height meter. But when his grandmother said to him: “Thierry, go get the fresinat” on the evening of the pig killer, it was with a good winner’s head that he brought back the pieces of throat and spine just cut by his grandfather, under the hangar of the house family in Lautrec.
Fifty years later, in Albi, it is with the same brilliant gaze of gluttony that he looks at the 3 kg of loin ordered the night before by his assistant in the kitchen.
The head of Vin Coeur – it is not noticed – will pass the baton to him in a few months. Thus, for his last winter in the kitchen, before turning the page on local gastronomy to devote himself to his community of communes, Thierry made up his mind to pass on this recipe from yesteryear to his successor. There is some space as Thierry grabs the bottle of oil. Although he was originally from the Tarn, Jean-Baptiste Dalens discovered butter cooking in Normandy when he was just starting out in the profession. But the chef intends to give “the true Fresinat recipe, the one with pink garlic labeled Rouge de Lautrec, is very important”.
Very marbled pig
On the countertop, then the spine. “A very marbled meat that stays tender when cooked.” French fries. “Agatha, Amandine… 90% of potatoes starting with A are fried potatoes.” Grandma’s garlic press to make very fine parsley…
Jean-Baptiste follows from the corner of his eye as he takes care of the Dubarry cream which will accompany the fried foie gras on the daily menu. He picks the cauliflower leaves for the compote and throws the pistachio mousseline that will accompany the dark chocolate. Return to Fresinat. “What can I add to season without masking the dish?”
No conflict between the ancients and the moderns united by the same love for fresh and seasonal products. Jean-Baptiste proposes, Thierry approves. And Isabelle, her owner, relishes … a little teasing when she remarks that dressage has never been the concern of her dear Thierry of hers. Not bad, the delicious aroma that comes out of the pot makes everyone agree.
The taste, the taste, the taste, that’s the only real thing! “Simple but effective” sums up Thierry with a smile, giving way to his second. Jean-Baptiste chooses long, rectangular plates to place the fresinat on a bed of chlorophyll. “A dish is like poetry,” comments JB, you hear.
At this level, it’s quite an art.
The fresinat recipe
What you need to know to be successful in fresinat.
Ingredients for 4 people
1 kg of pork loin; 1.5 kg of potatoes, 1 head of Lautrec pink garlic (six cloves), half a bunch of parsley, oil, salt, pepper.*
The advice of chef Thierry Bardou
Cut into thick slices then cut the meat into cubes so that it remains tender. Place the pieces in a cold round, add salt and pepper while cold so that the meat forms blood, which will allow it to cook in its own sauce. Start cooking over high heat, cover and lift the lid from time to time to mix. Cut the potatoes into large cubes. Immerse them in an oil bath at 180°, drain them when they begin to colour. Stir in the meat, browned potatoes and parsley before covering the pot and leaving to infuse for 10 minutes with the heat off. Then serve hot.
A 100% Syrah Gaillac or a red Cabardès, from the Aude.
Dressage on valerian chlorophyll by Jean-Baptiste Dalens
A stalk of new onion to give verticality and freshness to the dish. A few slices of carrots and turnips blanched in an English dish (hot water and salt) then cooled in ice cubes “to bring the temperature below 25°, which prevents the development of bacteria and allows leftovers to be kept for 5 days in the refrigerator. And what’s more, it fixes the colors of vegetables like chlorophyll.”